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the nature of parties

The nature of parties has been imperfectly studied. It is, however, generally understood that a party has a pathology, that it is a kind of individual and that it is likely to be a very perverse individual. And it is also generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended. This last, of course, excludes those dismal slave parties, whipped and controlled and dominated, given by ogreish professional hostesses. These are not parties at all but acts and demonstrations, about as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.

- John Steinbeck, from 'Cannery Row' (1945).

Both 'Cannery Row' and its sequel 'Sweet Thursday' contain some riotous parties, and in 'Tortilla Flat' it even becomes The Party, which was "one last glorious hopeless assault on the gods".

No one has studied the psychology of a dying party. It may be raging, howling, boiling, and then a fever sets in and a little silence and then quickly quickly it is gone, the guests go home or go to sleep or wander away to some other affair and they leave a dead body.
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